The Grocery Manufacturers Association, whose 300-plus members include the Coca-Cola Company, General Mills and Kraft Foods, has launched an initiative that will, among other things, give the FDA access to a database of food companies’ safety information for chemicals and other ingredients used in processed foods.
The GMA says it’s an effort to improve the safety and transparency of ingredients used in food products.
Politico reports the FDA has come under increasing pressure to review food chemicals, which it says are mostly self-approved by food companies.
The GMA says its five-part initiative will include:
- GMA will take the lead in defining a standard that will provide clear guidance on how to conduct transparent state of the art ingredient safety assessments. These advanced procedures will be documented in a Publicly Available Standard (PAS) for Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) determinations. The PAS will be a science-based framework that specifies a rigorous and transparent ingredient safety assessment process. The procedures included in the PAS will also ensure GRAS assessments meet the regulatory requirements of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The PAS will be developed by an independent body of technical experts in an open public process that includes interested stakeholders. The PAS will be suitable for accreditation using an independent official accreditation body.
- GMA is establishing a program to ensure the FDA has increased visibility to the ingredients that are assessed as GRAS by members of the food industry. The increased visibility will be made possible through the establishment of a GMA-sponsored database that will list information on all GRAS assessments conducted by the food industry. Information in this database will be made available to FDA and other stakeholders to provide increased visibility of ingredients used in the food supply that have been assessed for safety using the procedures defined in the PAS on GRAS assessment procedures.
- GMA will expand its curriculum of GRAS education and training programs in order to further increase the capability of scientists who assess the GRAS status of ingredients used by the consumer packaged goods industry.
- GMA members have committed to drive improvement in the GRAS assessment process by adopting a Code of Practice at the GMA Board of Directors Meeting held on Aug. 22. The Code outlines the commitments GMA members have made to conduct assessments according to the procedures defined in the PAS, to maintain the database with up to date information and to ensure that their employees are fully trained on GRAS procedures.
- GMA will execute a communications outreach program to inform stakeholders and consumers of the steps being taken by industry to increase the integrity of procedures used to assess ingredient safety.
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